MIDTOWN, Manhattan (PIX11) — The community joined the Israeli-American Council Thursday, calling for the immediate release of the hundreds of hostages held by Hamas.
In a powerful show of solidarity, thousands of people gathered in Times Square, waving Israeli flags. Ralliers held signs with the faces of people believed to have been kidnapped; those same faces were projected on more than a dozen billboards.
“They are suffering unimaginable agony every moment and we are here to demand the release of those hostages as well as to stand for Israel’s inalienable right to defend itself decisively,” said Elan Carr, CEO of the Israeli-American Council.
Mark Massimian attended the rally and said he has a close friend in Israel who’s been missing for days.
“He was at an event and after that event, no one has had contact with him,” Massimian said. “They’re trying to live their normal life on a happy occasion and just to be torn away from family, it’s very uncomfortable.”
It’s estimated that about 200 men, women, and children are being held captive in Gaza in what ralliers called a “crime against humanity”.
“These are people that got taken out of their homes and are now being held by a terrorist organization, and I wish we could do more,” Rocky Fishman, who attended the rally.
Orna Neutra believe their 22-year-old son is among the hostages.
“We are heartbroken, we are worried, but we are focused and resolute and doing everything within our power to bring Omer back,” Neutra said.
The faces of hostages were also projected on major landmarks around the city. The Israeli-American Council said they will not give up their efforts to get the hostages home.